What the Australian tech industry looks for in new hires
28 Sep 2017
6 minute read
Quite often, just knowing how to code is not enough to land that first coding job. When companies are looking to bring in talent, they tend to assess how you will perform in the existing structure of the organisation. Since you will be expected to work as a part of a team, there are certain traits that you will need to have to become integral to the team. While these specific requirements tend to differ from company to company, certain elements often stay the same. These are the existing industry standards:
#1 Be able to fit with the team and culture
Team fit or culture fit is one of the most sought-after qualities in a candidate in tech and non-tech companies. The reason this has become a priority for most businesses is because team fit ensures that you will work as a team player, improving the work environment and making it more productive. As Ei Sabai (Isabel) Nyo, Web Development Manager at Gumtree Australia puts it, “It is worth it for [Gumtree] to spend time hiring the right people than hiring anyone and having to fix it later. We want individuals who are not only technically sound but can also work within a team. They need to have the same mindset about caring about customers.”
#2 Be a self-starter
A growing trend now in companies is hiring people who can become ‘intrapreneurs’. Intrapreneurs are inside entrepreneurs who take the lead in solving problems and come up with innovative solutions. Naturally, intrapreneurs can give the company a competitive edge over others. Michael Campbell, Managing Director and Co-founder at Leafcutter, also believes that being a self-starter is crucial in a candidate. “We need people who are self-starters, who are go-getters, who are problem solvers. People who will proactively take the challenge. These are the biggest factors we look for in a new talent,” says Michael.
#3 Have business acumen
Jim Wild, CTO at Academy Digital and former Technology Director at Mentally Friendly, said that Mentally Friendly looks for developers with project management skills. He believes that programmers should be taught business and project management skills so that they understand that they are working for a business. This view is not his alone; rather, it represents an increasing requirement from tech companies around the world for programmers to have a considerable amount of soft-skills. Business acumen is in-demand because having it ensures that you can make a sound judgement, act professionally, and understand how business works. This saves the company valuable resources by not having to deal with problem employees.
#4 Be able to adapt
It’s obvious that team fit, personality, and experience are taking centre stage in the recruitment process within Australian tech companies. However, one trait that is not always clearly expressed in tech jobs, but inherent to it is being able to adapt to the requirements of the company and the industry. Christopher Logan, Head of Software Engineering at Tyro Payments aptly puts it, “There is nothing about the tech industry that moves slow. The technology and its applications keep growing year by year. Therefore, a technology company needs to be adaptive to these changes, and with it its employees. Being able to adapt and excel in different situations is such a rare skill that an employee showing this becomes highly employable.”
While this is not an exhaustive list of all the requirements of tech companies in Australia, it represents a consensus among the likes of our industry partners. The disruptive nature of the tech industry changes how we do things every few years (if not faster!), in turn changing the specific requirements a company expects from candidates. All you can do is focus on the core and timeless traits that companies value.
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